One day before Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual-assault trial is supposed to start in New York City, Los Angeles district attorney Jackie Lacey announced that Weinstein has been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman in separate incidents across two days in 2013.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Weinstein has been charged with “one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.” On February 18, 2013, Weinstein allegedly pushed his way into a woman’s hotel room and raped her. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a different woman in a hotel suite in Beverly Hills the next evening. Neither of the alleged victims has come forward publicly, but one will be testifying in the upcoming criminal trial in New York, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson, who will be prosecuting the case, confirmed at a press conference Monday. An arraignment date for the Los Angeles charges has not yet been set. The DA’s office was investigating a total of eight accusations against Weinstein, but Lacey said that three of those accusations took place outside the statute of limitations and, therefore, will not be pursued. The office is continuing to investigate the other three accusations to determine if additional criminal charges will be filed.
“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” Lacey said in a statement. “I want to commend the victims who have come forward and bravely recounted what happened to them. It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”
The development was not entirely unexpected. During a pretrial proceeding Monday morning, Weinstein’s lawyers asked for the presiding judge, James Burke, to sequester the jury in case “something may happen.” Burke denied this request.
After the proceeding, one of Weinstein’s lawyers said that the request was related to the sexual-misconduct investigation in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles said that the New York City judge might have to weigh whether to increase Weinstein’s bail, as an arrest warrant has been filed against him relating to these new charges. This possible bail increase comes several weeks after Weinstein’s bail in his New York City case was upped from $1 million cash to $2 million insurance-company bond. The increase came after allegations that Weinstein had nearly 60 “violations” involving his ankle-monitoring bracelet.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment. A rep for Weinstein did not immediately provide a comment, but Weinstein has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. The four Los Angeles charges are in addition to the charges against him in New York, where he faces one count of rape in the first degree, one count of rape in the third degree, one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault against two different victims. His trial is expected to last around eight weeks.